PART SIX– Harvest Haven to Surprise Visitors (cont.)
We took possession of the 80-acre market farm on October 1, 1995, and Archie and his family moved in. A killer frost came in on Sept. 23rd, a week before possession, and destroyed whatever saleable or usable crops there were, including strawberries, raspberries, and other fruits and vegetables, from which we could have received some income to defray our expenses. The Mokoskis had also buried some of the root vegetables, unwilling to leave anything for us. But none of it was organic, so it didn’t matter.
We had little idea what was in store for us. We were overwhelmed and sorely tried from the very beginning. The Mokoskis had purchased the farm from the Fortunes in 1982, having owned it for about 13 years. The Fortunes had built the house themselves in 1977, with little knowledge or skill. They did a poor job of it in many respects, yet charged the Mokoskis an exorbitant price for the poor quality at a time when real estate values were at a peak. Then values plummeted.
Obviously, this didn’t sit well with the Mokoskis. We were to learn that they were “thrifty,” partially perhaps because burned in the transaction, but mostly by nature, cutting corners everywhere, most of which we would be required to rectify. Cheap is not good.
The house needed more bedrooms and bathrooms for Archie’s family and major repairs of every kind – electrical, plumbing, flooring, siding, decking, phone service, light fixtures, curtains – everything. It was also overrun with mice.
There was no private water supply on the farm. The Mokoskis had been hauling water from Lethbridge, and we would have to do so nearly twice weekly, unless we acted quickly to dig a well or a dugout before freeze-up, which could be any day. Being the thrifty sort, I thought that an immediate installation would pay for some of it; we would save ourselves the trouble and expense of water hauling until spring.
Because we intended to have livestock, and because wells were expensive, we leaned towards having a dugout. We learned Jim Gunnlaugson had an excavator in the area, which would save us transportation fees and his charges were reasonable, so we decided to contract him to dig it.
Where to dig? We were told that test drilling for water was expensive and a process of trial and error. We knew little if anything of “water witching,” and didn’t like the spiritual sound of it, so we were stymied as to how to find the best place to dig. (Now that we know “water witching” is a science and not witchcraft, we wouldn’t hesitate to use it – the misnomer of the activity does it great injustice.)
Jim Gunnlaugson’s man dug some holes with his bucket in a couple of places in the pasture but one couldn’t tell where the water was for sure. We asked the Lord where to dig and concluded it should be at a certain low point about 360 yards away from the house. Considering that the water table was high on our farm, there was no question we would find water six feet deep or so. The water was there, and we dug a dugout, trusting that the Lord was guiding.
With the dugout more or less complete, we needed to trench water lines to the yard and house. We hired Larry Stevenson with his backhoe. Larry quoted us a fee per lineal foot, and we began at the dugout. As he dug, we would lay in the lines. For a few yards, it seemed like it was going to be okay, but very soon we encountered a serious problem. The earth being sand, the trench would cave in, sometimes immediately after Larry brought up the bucket. It was almost impossible for us to lay the line in before the trench caved. This went on for about 40 frustrating yards until Larry stopped and apologetically said, “I can’t do this by the foot. I’ll have to charge by the hour.”
It was evident that if we were able to do the job at all, it would be time-consuming and expensive. It occurred to me to ask the Lord for help. My prayer was something like this: “Father, You made the water of the Red Sea stand in a heap to let the children of Israel pass through safely on dry ground. If You made the water stand as a heap, You can make our sand to do the same. I ask that You help us. Thank You, Father.”
The presence of sand continued from there, the composition apparently no different from what we had encountered. Now, however, the sand no longer fell in upon us. It stood so that Larry had no more trouble digging, and we had no more trouble laying the lines. We were very thankful.
Who says there is no God?
Larry didn’t say anything that I recall. Perhaps he thought the soil had changed, and perhaps he thought God had changed it, though there was no visible evidence. Perhaps Larry only wondered, or it simply wasn’t given him to recognize the miracle. I don’t recall saying anything to him.
But come to think of it, why a dugout? Very few landowners used private water in our area for human consumption, be it well or dugout because the water in Southern Alberta has been permanently contaminated by the oil industry messing the aquifers. Consequently, people haul water from city sources. Lethbridge’s water comes from the Oldman River and is processed in the water treatment plant. Is it any better? I don’t think so, not with artificial fluoridation and chloramine treatment.
What made us think we could use the underground water? I can only say the Lord led us to do so. After the fact, I talked to Bob Gregson about it, expressing doubts about our dugout water’s quality. He said, in a prophetic and encouraging tone, “It’ll be okay.”
We had some urgent matters to address. An abandoned well and mysterious sump hole needed filling or covering; chemical spills in buildings needed cleaning; the chicken house was full of lice and the house full of mice; garbage was strewn or buried throughout the 80-acre property; and huge 60-foot cottonwoods were rotting, ready to fall, even on the house and other buildings.
Besides these dangers, we were inexperienced with farm machinery and livestock — two sources of injury that have made farming one of the most dangerous occupations known, especially to novices.
Seven acres of strawberry fields were depleted of nutrients and overcome by huge dandelions, thistles and other weeds. Throughout the gardening fields, Mokoski had unskillfully installed windscreen fences (to shield crops from the strong and frequent westerly Chinook winds of southern Alberta); they were in disrepair and had to be torn down. The entire farm had been abused and sorely neglected.
Were we busy! There was a dugout to locate and dig immediately, and a water system to install. There were shelter belts and fruit trees, shrubs and hedges to plant, machinery to buy, old buildings to tear down, old cement foundations to dig up and take away, house renovations, chickens and sheep to raise, cows to milk, hay to harvest, fruit and vegetable crops to plant, cultivation and land management to learn and tend to, irrigation to learn, customize, increase, repair, and operate; and cooling and freezing facilities to replace.
We didn’t have a clue what we were doing in any of these things and there was nobody to show or help.
There were sources for advice and supplies to seek out, and connections to be made. Adding to the hectic atmosphere, there was the farmer’s market at the Lethbridge Exhibition Grounds every Saturday all summer, which required considerable preparation for two or three days before, and customers at the farm to serve or lose when we knew next to nothing. Every one of us was on a speedy treadmill.
All this, along with Cathie’s home-schooling five children, doing Archie’s books and secretarial work for Archie’s Handyman Services, which Archie busily continued. Marilyn and I found ourselves driving the 35 miles to the farm and back nearly every day, six days a week, to help out. I recall nearly falling asleep at the wheel many times on our way home late in the evening, and having to rise early to head out again because there were many farm workers needing supervision who were being paid while waiting for us.
Added to the multiple overwhelming tasks and horrendous responsibility facing us at the farm, there were the internal personal and spiritual battles within and between each of us that presented even greater challenges.
I have likened our buying the farm to catching a train full speed on the run. With luggage in our hands, we grabbed the handle bars of the cars, threw the luggage on, and boarded. Upon boarding, we were expected to know the train, cargo, occupants, and destinations and operate the entire train immediately, with little if any training, knowledge, or experience. It was a sudden living nightmare, from which there was no waking for a long time. And none of us had seen a train up close in decades, if ever.
The task was a perfectly impossible one.
In these days, Archie had a vision of a great white ship in a harbor. Outside that harbor, a fierce storm raged, but within it was perfect peace. Paul also had a vision in 1994 of our being a sailing ship in a harbor, safe from the stormy sea.
Why ships in a harbor with a storm at sea? Aren’t there other ways of representing safety and security?
What was I thinking or planning? Why should the farm have a name? Yet, we were already beginning to see it as a market farm, so a name seemed appropriate, if not necessary, for what I was sensing down the road. I don’t recall asking the Lord, though I believe I did. We, along with Archie and Cathie, consulted together, and the name “Harvest Haven” came to me. I don’t believe I could have come up with it on my own. Everyone agreed and even liked it. It is a good name and God gave it to us.
The name would turn out to have spiritual significance, but for a while, it would seem to be anything but a haven – indeed, “Harvest Hades” would have been much more appropriate. It would first be hell for every one of us, for several years, and many wouldn’t survive the fires.
General ongoing expenses took on a life of their own with a vengeance. The year after we purchased the farm, the municipal property taxes were boosted by 350% and our irrigation fees were increased when it was discovered the Mokoskis hadn’t been paying fees for the entire parcel of land. Electricity and gas went up as well.
But God took care of all expenses, providing far more than enough to pay for workers, improvements, machinery, utilities and operating costs, though we had very little income. He said to me, “Don’t worry about the expenses. I can provide you with all that you may need or want. I will cover for mistakes and losses.” And thankfully, that’s the way it has been.
In spite of how the Lord was providing generously for our needs, I was seeing what I considered to be great waste and expense, and it bothered me. I don’t know how many times I called the farm a money pit. There were so many times when I didn’t believe the Lord had led us to buy the farm; I suspected that my covetousness and foolish whims and fancies had sucked me into buying it. There’s no denying my carnal heart; however:
“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9 HNV).
One day, Archie rebuked me, saying something unfortunate had happened because I had called the farm a money pit. There often seemed to be condemnation and self-serving in all that Archie said prophetically. Nevertheless, I knew I was wrong in my attitude and couldn’t go on that way. I fought to put such notions away.
As I was looking at all the potential expense, I said, “This place is so run down, it’ll cost us a million dollars to fix.” Marilyn said (prophetically, and we see it now), “A million dollars won’t touch it.”
I didn’t believe it at the time, but we would discover she was right. It was a Word from the Lord. We had no idea what God had in mind for us.
We also discovered that Mokoskis’ neighbor relations weren’t the best. Consequently, we had an uphill battle to prove to some of them that the relations were with the owners and not the property, and that the property was under new ownership. It was surprising and perplexing to see their skeptical, antagonistic attitudes at first, but we would find there was also another reason for those attitudes.
In 1989, we bought our Cressida at Stu Sinclair’s Toyota. To get the price we thought they were prepared to accept, I dickered. Whenever I purchased a vehicle from a dealer, there seemed to be a margin of at least 20% to be deducted from the asking price, new or used. In 1996, along came a white 1994 Previa van to the same sales lot, though under new management, which we could use for the farm as a service vehicle.
Joe Bilodeau, all laughs and smiles and making like we had known each other all our lives, started the sales tricks with us, his affected friendship for starters. (We had met during the Cressida purchase years earlier, but only briefly.) He then dropped a couple of names, suggesting someone else was interested in the van as well (sales tactic: create or fake a demand). The asking price was about $23,000.
Marilyn expressed an interest, playing her cards face up on the table. When I asked Joe what kind of price he could work out for us, I was surprised by the reply. He said that the price was the price and that they weren’t prepared to lower it.
Apparently, he saw the desire and played it. I was going to dicker, not believing him, but Marilyn was of another mind: “Just pay it; it won’t hurt us.” I knew she was right (that it wouldn’t hurt us) because the Lord always gave us whatever we needed, on time. So I succumbed, partially for that reason and partially because I didn’t really feel comfortable about dickering at the time.
Though I was sensing his crass disingenuousness, I didn’t wish to offend in case there was something spiritually valuable at stake for him. I had talked to him about the Lord. But I came away from the purchase feeling I had been had. I couldn’t shake it.
As a rule (though there are exceptions, and some very good ones), a man may be better off to leave his wife out of business negotiations. They’re often gullible pushovers and don’t seem to have a sense of value for money. Again, I reiterate, there are exceptions. Sometimes it’s the other way around.
Days later when we came to pick up the van, I watched Joe operate with a fresh, young couple and perform the same act again, only this time, I was able to see it more clearly; there was almost contempt on his part toward them. I knew it was the way he had felt about us.
However, this is my real beef:
Some people can negotiate and some can’t. I’ve been able to do so, but my question is, “Why should shrewd bargainers be able to come off with the deals when naive, timid, and often poorer folk tend to pay the higher price? Bullies walk in, as I’ve done, shave $4,000 dollars from the asking price of a car while the shy, non-aggressive ones pay a penalty for their naivety. Is that fair?”
There ought to be a law to protect the weak from those prepared to take full advantage of them, as I feel happened with us. I think there ought to be one price for all, unless a seller wanted to be generous or charitable. It’s reported a car manufacturer did just that and found a positive response in Canada, perhaps particularly with women who didn’t feel comfortable dickering.
Along with the flurry of activity at the farm and all involved, we kept watch on the world scene. On November 4, 1995, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. To make it worse, it was a young Jew, Yigal Amir, who assassinated him. Why must the Jews so often be their own worst enemies? Yet, I really wasn’t impressed with Rabin’s leftist, giveaway, compromising mentality; I just wasn’t.
Marilyn and I were immediately confronted with the glaring fact that the farm was an overwhelming project needing much work, and the sooner the better. I started going to the farm nearly every day to help, but Archie and Cathie wanted nothing of it. They wanted to do it all themselves.
Archie prophesied that I was to stay away from the farm. Was that a message from the Lord or was it more of the same rejection of our presence that had been there for years? I know we were hard on them – demanding, impatient, intolerant, often angry, overbearing – you name it, so I certainly couldn’t blame them. I still had a problem with mammon, which defiled all my dealings with everyone.
On the other hand, it was a two-way street. Had they been receptive of us, more cooperative and less independent, we could have labored as a team and accomplished much to be enjoyed. I ignored Archie’s word, concluding it was more of him than of the Lord, and therefore continued to come to the farm to “oversee my investment.”
One evening, Archie, his family, Paul, Lois, Sean, Marilyn, Jonathan, and I were sitting at the supper table in the dining room. The patio door was open and an audible breeze passed by. I said, “There is a storm coming; it’s going to be a powerful, devastating one.” I wasn’t speaking of the weather. The words were prophetic, beyond my understanding; circumstances were approaching, so difficult that it would be questionable whether anyone would endure them.
Sean was at the other end of the table as I spoke, and with mocking sarcasm, murmured to someone, “Well, I guess we better get our raincoats and rubber boots.” His remark and attitude sounded offensive, but I didn’t have it in me to rebuke or confront him. I didn’t know why I didn’t have it, and there would soon appear to be serious consequences for reluctance to face and deal with negative reality.
Paul wasn’t the only one who had his heart set on marrying. Trevor was very much this way, and each woman he met and started to pursue was “the one from God,” though not one of them had Christian faith.
One such was Alina, a Romanian girl from Toronto. She came with Trevor to Alberta while he was working in Toronto as an engineer. I couldn’t bring him to understand that if he was a believer and married an unbeliever, there would only be trouble, as the Bible clearly teaches, unless he forsook his faith, in which case there would be trouble for another reason.
By the time we visited with Alina and Trevor in our home, it became evident even to him in his foolish blindness that their marriage wouldn’t work. There were several women before Alina, and there would be several more, each one “really the one for sure this time, absolutely, positively, no doubts whatsoever.” Unknown to him, one was even a lesbian.
Sometime between September 14 and 18, 1995, two fellows wanted to meet and talk with me at Sean’s. They were upset because Sean was no longer part of the IVCF (Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship) or attending First Baptist Church. They wished to ask me some questions, convinced that I was a deceiver. We met in Sean’s basement apartment on Columbia, in West Lethbridge. The men were Pat Schoenberger and Jeff Cullen.
It was apparent Jeff was smarting, and I guessed it was from the time years before when I called the IVCF for New Age material and confronted him on his faith. I had never met Pat.
They began by asking me what I had against “the church.” I sat there for what seemed a few minutes, asking the Lord what I should say. They thought I was stumped and I suppose I was for a while. Jeff once or twice gently urged a reply and I wasn’t able to give one until later. Then I spoke, saying I had nothing against the true Church; it was the false one I had a problem with.
Another issue they brought up from my writings was my declaration that sickness, like terminal cancer, is almost invariably caused by sin. Jeff then began to defend an acquaintance of his who died of cancer, saying that person was a godly man. I gave him Scripture to substantiate my doctrine and I told him he could only give his judgment and opinion. We talked for about an hour.
While the fellows were religious, they had no understanding of the things of God. I didn’t expect to get anywhere with them and we parted that night in disagreement. I had even expected to lose Sean, as I had lost the Hlewkas to Lorne Rabuka in Prince Albert two decades earlier. Such an unpleasant outcome was often the case when truth and error provided a crossroad and call to choose. Tug of wars over souls rarely seem to work out for me.
However, Sean wasn’t discouraged. The event didn’t seem to faze him. At least this time, I hadn’t reacted with anger as I had with Lorne Rabuka, something I deeply regretted for a long time.
In June of 1996, when Sean was going to the University of Lethbridge, I helped him do a paper for Dr. Tom Robinson on the “church father,” Augustine. In reading the things that Augustine wrote and taught, it became apparent to me that while Augustine was a brilliant man, revered as a theologian, and counted as a “father of the church,” he really didn’t know God, as only God’s children do, no matter how simple they may be. He taught many things that were contrary to the Scriptures – diabolical, really.
Sean was required to give references. I pointed out where Augustine erred. Of course, Sean couldn’t use me – a nobody – as an authoritative reference, but I told him to put my name down anyway.
“They won’t accept it,” he objected.
“It doesn’t matter,” I replied. “Those references your professor will accept as credible authorities don’t know what they’re talking about, but I do. So you fail. Would you rather write lies and get a good mark, or learn the truth, write it, and fail? Your choice.”
I pressed Sean, and only then did he use me as a reference. My point was that our walk before God has nothing to do with man-pleasing and intellectual or educational academics. A believer is called to take up his cross for Truth’s sake, not lay down Truth for earthly gain.
Dr. Lorne Rabuka told me in 1973 that he wouldn’t have been able to become a medical doctor unless he gave the right answers in favor of evolution. I judged it to be wrong for a Christian to do that. Is that so unreasonable? Not to those in the faith, it isn’t.
I ask why we should compromise the truth for lies. Lorne could have entered alternative health care or some other occupation more worthwhile. You ask, “What can be more worthwhile than healing the sick?” My answer is that medicine today is making people sick and treating symptoms rather than causes. America is very sick, and it suffers much of its illness at the hands of those who presumably are supposed to be healers. With Lorne Rabuka’s great training and evolutionary knowledge, I nearly died.
Reluctantly, Sean complied and received a poor mark, as expected. He never said anything about it. I take it he wasn’t impressed.
There were many things that I was trying to share with Sean, and while at times he seemed excited or receptive, there was a barrier I could barely discern. It prompted me to pray a peculiar prayer for Sean: “Father, open his eyes to see.” Immediately, I heard these words in seeming compassion: “I will.” I had no idea what lay in store. Truly, I came to regret the prayer without conditions.
As the days progressed, Sean became burdensome. He was greatly troubled, demanding much attention and time. I had my hands full with the farm now, enough for three people, yet he could not or would not restrain himself. He would want to talk for hours every day, and none of it was constructive. He was greatly troubled. Not finding sufficient opportunity with me, it wasn’t long before he began to come, by phone and in person, to Marilyn, who entertained his thoughts and gave him time. You got it – this development would set the stage for trouble.
Western Canada produced an alternative political party, first provincial, then federal. It was in an atmosphere of growing dissatisfaction at the corruption and increased insensitivity of the major federal political parties, both Liberals and Conservatives. People wanted a grassroots movement and they got it. Leading the party was Preston Manning, son of a former prominent Alberta Premier, Ernest Manning, who successfully led the provincial Social Credit Party for years.
Ernest had also been an evangelical preacher, who continued Bible preaching even as he led the province. Wow! Are those days behind us or what!
I much appreciated the common sense and “Of course, why didn’t someone think of that long ago?” policies that Preston Manning, Ray Speaker, and as I understand it, Stephen Harper and others formulated, which gave the Reform Party a unique and needful role in Canadian politics. I knew that Preston and his wife, Sandra, confessed faith in Jesus Christ, even as did his father.
I was inspired to write Mr. Manning and Mr. Speaker a two-page letter, urging them to make a public testimony of the One of Whom everything is all about. I wondered, “If they call Canada a ‘Christian’ country, why don’t politicians declare the Name of Christ?” I knew where Mr. Manning stood, but wasn’t sure of Mr. Speaker. The last paragraphs sent to them were as follows:
Gentlemen, is it not time that we stand up in His precious Name and proclaim not patchwork approaches to men’s ills, which may be good in themselves, but to boldly proclaim the final solution of man’s ills in purest, most evident form? Is it not time that we cease trying to put new wine in old wineskins, as good as the old wineskins might be, and instead declare boldly the necessity for new wineskins? Will not our efforts otherwise eventually be for nought? Is it not time we laid down our lives for His sake and boldly went where few dare to go – to the stake as did forefathers in history, to the cross and sword as did early disciples – if necessary?
Gentlemen, when is it not necessary? When one is a politician?
If the House of Commons is not the place for such testimony, then where?
If now is not the time, then when?
If it is not for the leaders to speak, then who?
You will not ask, “Why?” but if you did, I would ask, “Why not?”
Glorious will be that day when men arise and, in true faith and love, choose to speak of Him, no matter who they are, where they are, when it is, or what they have to lose. Is this not the day for which all creation groans? (The full text may be seen here.)
Eight months later, Mr. Manning replied. (He was always faithful in doing so.) His reply was an interesting one, somewhat expected, as will be related. Continuing for now…
Sean’s father, Bob Fife, left his wife, Audrey, when Sean was a toddler, an only child. Bob immersed himself in homosexuality and all lusts. As he put it, “I gave myself totally to pleasure; I held nothing back.” (I have wondered how Audrey felt with her husband leaving her for men.)
Sean and his mother were evangelical Christians and attended Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, where he completed high school and two years of Bible school. In 1989, when Sean was in his late teens, he decided to touch base with his father in Toronto. Bob was very happy to see his son again. Sean told him he loved him unconditionally, and Bob declares that this statement had an impact on him. As a result of this encounter, Bob quit homosexuality and rejoined the Christian denomination he was involved with as a young man.
In 1995, by our encouragement, Sean was visiting his father again, who still lived in Toronto and needed help with his house and business. While Sean was there, Paul and I were in Missoula, Montana, where we were faxing letters with spiritual instruction, looking to Sean as a go-between. However, Sean didn’t really believe us, and was therefore not helpful, and most likely detrimental.
Sean Fife had made efforts to bring faith to his father, Bob, who lived in Toronto, not that Sean had it himself. Bob was a member of the denomination called the “Brethren,” a stuffy, doctrinaire organization that professes Christ, yet knows nothing of Him.
It was in 1995 that I had a vision of Bob Fife, as we were attempting to reach him. He had a friend, Greg Croal, who sought his own glory, his words smooth as oil, persuading Bob not to pay attention to us. In the vision, Bob was in a pit and I was kneeling down beside it, reaching out to pull him out. Greg Croal, also a member of the Brethren, was standing five feet behind me, glorifying himself and calling on Bob to glorify him, too.
Often I have had things to say from the Lord to people, though it appeared I spoke of my own accord. It has also been evident that while I’m not the first to be speaking to them concerning serious issues in their lives, I often seem to be the last. Yet people resist to the bitter end. I’ve yet to see anything but bad come for anyone resisting the Lord. I would learn what happened to Greg, as with so many others.
Sean had another university friend, Al DeLeeuw, with whom we had supper at Sean’s. Al’s father had been in ministry, which, Al told us, had a negative impact on Al. He was a proverbial “preacher’s kid,” developing psychological problems common with children of those in nominal Christian ministry. He expressed delight with what I was sharing with him about the sham of formal Christian religion and how the Lord didn’t come to give us religion, but life. He declared that those were very thoughts he himself had, but which were never confirmed by others.
However, Al was spiritually fragile and wasn’t prepared to embrace the Truth. Few will agree with the truth but of those that do, many fail when it comes to acting on it (“Many are called but few are chosen”). They prefer to continue with their sins and convenient relationships, preferring social benefit to God. It was out of this experience with Al, in part, that I wrote The Case for Coming Out. I shouldn’t have been surprised at the intensity of his reaction toward me, one of great bitterness, when I gave him the paper.
He later joined young fellows, John Albiston, Pat Shoenberger, Jeff Cullen, Chris Heynen, and others, in condemning me with a slanderous, public 17-page paper. More on that later.
Paul mentioned people he met in Missoula who were interested in the things of God. We prayed and the Lord told us there would be many there to whom we would be speaking. We decided to pay Paul a visit and meet them. We brought our son Jonathan along.
First, there was Ruth Bray coming to see us at Paul’s. She was a married woman with young children, a disaffected Seventh Day Adventist. At the time, we weren’t Sabbath keepers, while she was. We talked about it, and while I didn’t defend Sunday-keeping, neither did I see the importance of keeping the Sabbath.
Her husband Mike wanted no part in religion, which displeased her. To her, he wasn’t a believer. However, in visiting with him, I found that though he didn’t believe, he was rather reasonable. I counseled her to submit to her husband as the rightful head of their home, regardless of whether she agreed with his stance, as long as it wasn’t against God or His Law. Either that, or divorce. What was the point of living together while the wife didn’t recognize her husband’s authority?
Ruth began to arrange for others to come and meet us at Paul’s. A young couple, Jacob and Rinann, came by and were excited about what we had to say, until they spoke to Rinann’s mother, Jan, who came over to investigate.
Jan told us she had been assaulted or approached sexually by a homosexual pastor, and was thoroughly hurt and offended by the ordeal; understandably so. Therefore she was quite skeptical of any who came as ministers of God, perhaps especially those like me, who had no formal, religious credentials or recommendations. Yet haven’t we seen so many with credentials guilty of these sorts of crimes and sins? Likely, her abusive pastor had credentials; I don’t recall.
Introduction Table of Contents PDF Version PART ONE – Darkness to Light The First Dimension Particle - The Birth of a Fool My sojourn on earth began on April Fools' Day, 1946, in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada. The day would come when I seriously wondered if I was not the greatest fool that ever lived. I was the oldest of four brothers and one sister born to Ukrainian Catholic parents, Nick and Anne Hafichuk. My father's parents' names were Michael and Dora Hafichuk, originally of Sifton, Manitoba; my mother's parents were Paul and Jessie Szmon, of Gilbert Plains, Manitoba. Curiously, I recall that my grandfathers were both about four years of age when their parents immigrated to Canada in the first wave of Ukrainian migration in 1891 from Galicia of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Some of their roots went back to near Kiev of the Ukraine. My parents were mixed farmers who rented a quarter section (160 acres) with house and farm buildings from the Cassels of Brandon, Manitoba. The rental fee was a third of the crop produced, if I recall correctly. I'm not sure what would have happened if there had been a crop failure. This property was five miles north of Dauphin, where we lived for my first 12 years. We also owned a quarter section of land, much of which was virgin and needed clearing from aspens and poplars. We worked hard, were relatively poor, but had all our needs met. I still remember our mailing address as R. R. #1, Dauphin,...
The Sword “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be those of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36 MKJV). I am not sent for division's sake; I do not come to attack; Strife and debate I do not sow, Yet all these are found where I go. I haven't come for evil's sake, Bearing trouble, sorrow, and pain, Yet the sword I bear Will cut in two And each half in two again. There are those who wish to take the truth And claim it for their own. But others, joined to them, declare, “If you go, you go alone.” I cannot help but cause this woe, If I am to speak what is true; I can only hope as time goes on, That your loved ones will come, too. But you cannot wait for them to come, The time to heed is now. Just as you cannot wait for yours, The call cannot wait for you. As friends increase, my enemies mount In numbers greater still. There are very few who know they are sick And eager to swallow the pill. But many there are who take offense That the truth should upset their life; And hence the division, the sorrow, the pain, The debate, the anger, the strife. But come if you will, take the medicine, Be healed in your soul, set free. In place of what you leave behind, There are far greater things to be. Introduction Part I ~ P...
Page 5 PART ONE – Darkness to Light (cont.) Particle – Sundays a Nightmare We were dragged to Mass at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Dauphin every Sunday morning. Farm chores had to be done earlier, and taking the extra trouble to wash up was a chore. We had to dress in our Sunday best with ill-fitting clothes and tight, uncomfortable dress shoes. To wash the dirt from our ears and the mucous from our eyes that we had missed, my mother turned to us in the back seat, spitting on a handkerchief and wiping us down while on the way to town. Sunday mornings were very troubling. The church was crammed with people. The mixture of body odor from unbathed poor, older people and frankincense from the censers was nauseating. Fresh air was in short supply because they did not think to open windows until altar boys were fainting. Adding to the stifling atmosphere, the Mass was in Slavonic, a language incomprensible to us, and the whole event was formal, regimented, and utterly boring. Besides that, we had to confess our sins to the priest, which was not pleasant at all - unless we had no sins to confess, of course, but that was rarely my case. Was it worth going to church? No doubt, all that was a super pleasant Sunday picnic compared to going to hell and burning forever and ever, 24/7. Particle – No Money, No Church Our church was crammed in the ‘50s and only getting worse, so a call went out to raise funds for a new building or an extension on the old. I was told when I wa...